Category Archives: Ramblings

This is where I ramble on about whatever comes into my head, because I can’t think of anything of world-shattering importance to say.

Clarion, where art thou?

25th Street, Ogden. Photo from the archives of the Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah.

 

A few weeks ago I was again asked why, if Tiff obviously lived in Ogden, Utah, I didn’t call the place Ogden in the Whisperings books (yes, I mean you, Kenny!) As always, I was so flabbergasted at being approached by a person who actually knows who I am, and asked about my books, my intellect flew off into the ether and I became all but unintelligible. I mumbled something about thinking Tiff might insult someone (by which I meant an Ogden establishment or proprietor, or lifestyle) so decided to avoid that by not calling her city Ogden. As it was, Tiff didn’t insult anyone, but at the beginning, before I thoroughly settled into her personality, I did worry she would, so it was one of the reasons. I have to stress, though, it’s the least of them.

I always knew Tiff was a woman who lived in the mountains, and I pictured her in my mountain valley, the Ogden Valley – which is confusing to some because it’s several thousand feet above Ogden City, while Ogden City itself is in the Salt Lake Valley. But Tiff’s environment needed certain features, like a police department and city streets where her story unfolded, none of which are found in my valley. For me, being a lazy author, it was easier to picture a city layout I already knew, so Ogden became my grid map. Readers who know the area well will detect that although some of the locales I used are similar to Ogden’s, others are not. And the street names are different

I had an imaginary town in a mountain valley and I don’t think anyone would have been the wiser, until I indulged myself by including one of my favorite places in Ogden: 25th Street with its long, narrow shotgun style buildings, now transformed into unique stores, eateries, galleries and clubs, and Union Station facing from the west, became Clarion’s 22nd Street. And as Ogden’s history fascinates and entertains me, I couldn’t resist mentioning it in the books. Popularly known as Two-Bit Street, the area obtained such a bad reputation in the early 20th century due to gambling, prostitution and narcotic sales that Al Capone was rumored to have said Ogden was too wild a town for him. It is also said the connecting basements below the street were used for all kinds of naughty things during that era. Tiff’s 22nd Street (aka 25th Street) is what makes local readers say, wait a sec, this is Ogden!

Now I ask you, as this city is up in the mountains, not down in the Salt Lake Valley, and is not exactly alike, how could I call it Ogden? It became Clarion. And because it is Clarion, not Ogden, the street names, restaurants, etc., are not the same.

How, with a city stuck in the middle of it, can Tiff’s valley be the Ogden Valley? Hence the names of lakes, mountains and canyons in comparison to their location are also different.

This is what is meant by “based on.”

Many of the locations in the Whisperings books are “based” on places I know. The house in Arkansas: my brother-in-law’s house. The farm in Nebraska: another brother-in-law. Janine’s house in a gated community in California: my husband’s uncle’s place. Little Barrow in Wiltshire, England: a blending of Upavon and Rushall, where my parents used to live.

Why Clarion? I thought I invented the name. It seemed to me to have a Biblical sound to it, as so many towns and cities in Utah have. I had no idea there actually is, or was, a place called Clarion in southern Utah. Jewish families from Philadelphia and New York settled a piece of land in Sanpete County, west of Centerfield and Gunnison, beginning 1911. At its peak, 156 people lived in Clarion. But farming the dry land was difficult and water scarce, and the colony as a farming community was a failure. Most of the community had disbanded by 1916. A state order terminated the colony’s title in 1915 and Utah began to auction off the land in 1916. Local residents continue to refer to the area as Clarion although it is now in the Centerfield postal district.  Now, only a few weathered concrete foundations, and two lonely graves, are left of the original Clarion settlement.

My husband and I went to southern Utah to find Clarion. The landmarks and roads spoken of online didn’t seem to exist anymore. We were lucky to find a local lady at the Gunnison Valley Senior Citizens Center who gave us directions. Either the old foundations were hidden by grass, or we got on the wrong dirt road, because all we found were a few early 1900s homes, still occupied, which were not built by the colonists and part of the original settlement. Still, it was a nice day out, apart from all the flies congregated around the nearby dairy, some of which snuck in the pickup and annoyed us most of the way home to northern Utah.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: the process by which Ogden became Clarion and the reasoning behind it. Not that I “reasoned” it out beforehand; no, it was a gradual process during the writing and many, many painful revisions of the first two Whisperings books.

Have a good day!

 

Alive and well and living in Utah.

20160403_131649When I get emails and personal Facebook messages asking if I’m still alive, I know it’s time to write something on this little old blog.

I’ve never been a social media butterfly, never blogged frequently or spent as much time as I should on Facebook and other sites. I do appreciate the opportunities it’s given me, and I’ve met some wonderful people, but as little as I’m active on social media, sometimes I still want to give it a rest. So I’ve been busily filling my life with the mundane. You know, the family, the home, the garden, all very un-writerly things. Gasp! If you want to know what I’ve been up to, read on, but I warn you, it’s all very boring.

We started the year with a redecorating project: painting the kitchen/dining room, living room, upstairs bathroom and hall. In February this was interrupted when I went downstairs late one night and stepped into several inches of water. A toilet tank running water for three hours had filled up our septic tank, which showed its displeasure by belching back into the house. Luckily our floor downstairs slopes slightly so the water was only in the east side of the basement and didn’t get into the den. But the laundry room (it’s a BIG room) the downstairs bathroom and a bedroom were flooded. We were up till 3 AM sucking up water with shop vacs. Such fun, especially having to carry the full vacs upstairs and outside to empty them. Also lucky, no lasting damage and almost everything was salvageable. We did have to move everything out of the bedroom and take up the carpet, and decided to repaint the room while it was empty.

Lo and behold, water started to come into the same bedroom and we realized we have a crack in the foundation. Husband had to chop out a lot of newly painted drywall to find the crack and patched it on the inside, but we still have to dig down outside to patch that.

Are you having fun so far? We did. Ha ha. I hope you can hear the sarcasm.

We’ve since learned our septic system is on the way out. The poor old thing is damaged and all the snow melt is leaking into the tank, plus the leach field needs to be replaced.

We took a vacation in Mesquite, NV. We spent one day on our ATVs south of Mesquite in some incredible red rock canyons. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera because Husband had his, and his camera batteries died, so no pictures. Another day we drove up into the mountains west of Mesquite, along one of the little country dirt roads which deteriorates the farther you drive. When we got to the warning sign – go farther at your own risk – we went farther. The road got very bad, and ended with a punctured tire. My, what an adventure.

We took another mini vacation to Kanab, UT, and stayed at the Best Friends Animal Society in one of their cabins. What an incredible place! I’ve supported Best Friends for probably 20 years and this was my first visit. The staff is amazing, the work they do with abandoned and abused animals is amazing. The countryside is wonderful. Rock formations fascinate me and I got my fill there. One day we took the ATV on the Mail Drop ride. As per usual, the trail maps were not 100% accurate and we wasted quite a bit of time trying to find the actual Mail Drop, driving miles of trails and clambering up cliffs. The two men who directed us – I’d love to meet you again and tell you what I think of you. These two guys sent us in the wrong direction and we ended up taking some really nasty trails. We did eventually find the Mail Drop. What is the Mail Drop? In the 1800s, it was easier to send mail down a cliff to the valley below and the communities there, than ride all around the mountains to deliver it. The history of the Mail Drop is interesting, if you want to take a minute to read it. This is the best account I’ve found so far.

Lately I’ve had a spurt of domesticity. It’s as if my mum is inside my head, possessing me, telling me Linny, you have a lovely home but it’d be lovelier with a dusting rag and polish applied, the floor mopped, the junk tidied away (the list goes on and on.) You’d have a beautiful garden if you tidied it up. So on and so forth. To demonstrate how far down this road of doom I’ve gone, I even took everything out of my display cabinet, cleaned them and the cabinet! This is something I usually only do when we’re expecting visitors and the dust is so thick you can’t see what it’s hiding.

And, oh yes, I have been writing. Almost finished the first draft of a young adult paranormal romance: Icari. And I’ve also started on the third and last Downside book: Fallen.

And you thought I’ve done nothing but waste time with domestic issues, didn’t you.

IMG_0173 A very small area of the Angel’s Rest pet cemetery at Best Friends. Beautiful and peaceful. Can you see the wind chimes?
IMG_0201 This is actually the ceiling inside a cave on Best Friends property.
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The Beehives on the Mail Drop ride.

 

Looking out over the Mail

Drop.

Twas the night before Christmas . . .

A Tiff and Royal Christmas.

Click to continue reading “Twas the night before Christmas . . .”

Where Have All The Whisperings Gone?

Scribd did done me wrong.

Click to continue reading “Where Have All The Whisperings Gone?”

Dark Demon Rising is here!

New cover for ebooks

Dark Demon Rising

Whisperings Paranormal Mystery book seven.

 

 

 

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon Canada ~ Amazon Australia ~ Amazon Germany ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Barnes and Noble

What would you think if you woke in an unfamiliar place, with no memory of how you got there?

Suppose it’s a dream, and pinch yourself?

What if you can’t pinch yourself?

I have to rely on my ghostly buddies and a fake clairvoyant to help me solve a personally harrowing mystery and just when we think we’ve found the guilty party, the game changes. The real culprit’s convoluted plan is diabolical and shooting me was the first step. The next step could change the Gelpha world, and that would be just the start.

Poor Royal. He’s tolerated my interaction with dead people but never been happy with it. Now he has to take a real leap of faith. Now, if he wants to save my life and protect the future of three worlds, he has to believe.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2015

 

So I finished this book today

When you find and like something new, you want to share your discovery with your friends. Right? I do. So, today I’m pointing you at a particular book because I really enjoyed it: Stories on the Go, 101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors. The description says, ” You should be able to read each story in under five minutes — on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet at home or in the office, but also on your smartphone, on the go, while you are commuting or waiting at a coffee shop for your significant other to arrive.” Great, I thought. A book I won’t mind picking up, putting down, because I can get to the end of a story in seconds.

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But I had a hard time putting it down. I found it addictive. No story is over 1,00 words so a very quick read, tiny samples of one-hundred-and-one authors’ unique styles of story telling. Each time I finished one, I told myself I’d squeeze in just one more, or two, or three, before I headed for bed. I ended up reading into the early hours of the morning.

Not every little tale rocked my world, but many grabbed me by the heart and twisted, or tickled my funny bone, or made me really think. When I reached the end of the book, I wanted more. There are stories by authors already well known to me, such as Hugh Howey’s A Father’s Fist and John L. Monk’s delightfully slutty parody Trixy Chestity goes to England (Chapter 7). Dee Gabbledon’s Outlandisher was a delicious surprise. You’ve never heard of Dee Gabbledon? If you’re an Outlander fan, you’re in for a treat. <winks>

And I discovered many authors new to me and will definitely be checking out their books: Sheryl Fawcett (The Man Across the Room,) Bob Summer (Words) and Carol Kean (The Tipper)  to name only a few.

The book is free for Kindle and Nook so if you’re looking for an effortless reading experience, download Stories on the Go. See if you can put it down or, like me, become an addict.

 

A Holiday gift for fans of Whisperings Paranormal Mystery

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-holiday-lights-fog-image1627372My holiday gift for Whisperings fans, The Midnight Choir, a Whisperings short story, is free on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd and Inktera. Hopefully, it will soon also be free on International Amazon sites. This little story was first published here on my web site, but the new version includes additional material. I hope you enjoy it.

(Disclaimer: Although I have set the price as zero, Amazon can and often does charge for “free” books on some of their international sites. I have no control over this.)

Time has rushed by so quickly. The end of another year, when people look back and reflect on what the year brought into their lives. As  for me, the body is getting old and has forced me to acknowledge it has limitations, but the brain still works. I have family. I have friends who have stuck by me for years and new friends I’ve met online and in person. I can picture events which still make me smile when I remember them. As for the writing – as always it’s been fun, exasperating, stressful, tiring, and exhilarating.

On the writing side, Baelfleur, the sequel to Downside Rain was published in November. Tiff Takes on Halloween, a Whisperings short story, was published in October. I tried it on Amazon’s Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited as an experiment. All the KU borrows were nice but at the end of the day, being exclusive to one publishing platform doesn’t sit well with me, so the little story will also appear on Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd and Inktera when the Kindle Select period expires in January. And while I’m thinking of it, a shout out to Kindle Select staff who have always responded to my questions/problems promptly. Believe me, if you had to work with support staff at some of the other publishing platforms, you’d appreciate the guys and gals who staff Kindle Select.

I almost forgot to say – last week I reached a personal milestone with the sale of my 75,000 e-book.

In January I found out my Scottie dog Duncan has cancer. The discovery resulted in me rushing to England in April and deciding to write a seventh Whisperings Paranormal Mystery.

Why did my dog having cancer make me rush to England? And why did it prompt me to write another Whisperings book?

Well, I wanted to go to England to see my 91 year-old mum. Husband and I planned to go later in the year, but I didn’t know how long Duncan had with us. His excellent vet estimated six months to a year. I decided on chemotherapy treatment for him, but chemo destroys the immune system which meant he couldn’t be put at risk for infection by having him in a kennel while husband and I took a trip. In fact, he can’t be with other dogs at all, or have his annual immunizations and rabies shots, and we watch him carefully during walks to make sure he doesn’t get into anything he shouldn’t.

I didn’t want husband to have to deal with Duncan getting sick, and of course I wanted to be with Duncan when the time came,  so I whipped off to England earlier than planned and husband cared for Duncan while I was gone.

As for Whisperings. I said in my post To Be Or Not To Be that I didn’t know whether or not I’d write another Whisperings after A Conspiracy of Demons, and I didn’t have any plans to. But an odd thing happened when I learned Duncan has incurable cancer. I love my little dog and the news devastated me. I sat down at my computer and piled the whole thing on Tiff’s shoulders. I wrote about her discovering her Scottie Mac had cancer, her grief, and how she imagined the time to come when she would have to help him on his way.

At the end of the little piece, a bullet came out of nowhere.

I was pretty surprised. That wasn’t supposed to happen! I thought about it and before I knew it, I had an outline for Whisperings Paranormal Mystery book seven: Dark Demon Rising. I put it aside while I finished writing Baelfleur and the short stories but I’ll jump back on it after Christmas.

If you’re wondering about Duncan, he’s still with us and still going strong almost a year after the diagnosis.

So although 2014 began unhappily, it turned out to be a pretty good year. I hope 2015 brings good things, to me and to you. Happy Christmas, may the day be merry and bright, filled with love and good cheer.

 

 

BAELFLEUR: A Downside Novel.

Fifth coverbThe sequel to Downside Rain:

Two wraiths and a ghost accept a commission to deliver a message to the faceless thief who is stealing Downside’s treasures. Their journey takes them Far North to a cold, inhospitable land where humans rule and other races are shunned.

Meanwhile, a once powerful man is betrayed and his life is forfeit. With the dark angel dead, no one can help Alain Sauvageau. He is human now and only human skills can save him.

As Alain fights for his life, Rain, River and Castle close in on the thief only to discover there is more to his story than they were told. Someone will do anything to stop them finding him. But their new ally, a human Northern girl, may just tip the scales.


Last year I went through my closet and pulled out my heeled shoes to give to a charity store. Problems with my feet mean I can’t wear heels now and probably never will again. It was pretty traumatic as I looove fashionable shoes. But I couldn’t let one pair go. I’ve had them for so long they’ve taken on a sentimental value, as well as being beautiful. When I and my husband went to an event not long ago, I was damned if I’d wear flats to a fancy do! I crammed my feet into my one pair of heels and ten minutes later my poor feet were so swollen I had to hobble along barefoot, and the pain and swelling lasted for days. Sadly, that lovely pair of shoes no longer work for me.

I expect you’re asking yourself what this has to do with Baelfleur. Bear with me. :)

My old science fiction novel Mindbender is something like those shoes. I have a deep affection for it. Mindbender was the first novel I wrote and published. I unpublished it when I realized it needed work and have said time and again I’m going to edit and republish. And I tried, I really tried. But like those shoes it’s no longer a good fit for me. I have to love my books. I have to read them and be entertained. Although I still like some chapters, Mindbender as a whole no longer does it for me.

So Mindbender was about to be consigned to the shelf when the Muse gave me a nudge. “Some of those characters, and the theme- wouldn’t it make a perfect Downside nEratoovel?”

Now, as well as broadcasting numerous times I would republish Mindbender, I’ve also told several people that Downside Rain is a stand-alone novel. I told the Muse this. “So, you can change your mind. You creative types do it all the time. It’s your prerogative, said the Muse.

So I did.

If you read Mindbender when it was available, you may recognize three characters. I hope you enjoy their metemorphosis into what they became in Baelfleur. I also shamelessly scalped a few descriptive passages from my old Mindbender.

Baelfleur is now available and I’m offering Downside Rain at a reduced price for a limited time: $0.99 in the USA and matching currency in other countries.

With Downside Rain on sale, now is a good time to visit Downside. If you like books which introduce you to another world populated by good and evil creatures of myth and legend with a difference, please check out the Downside novels. Scroll down for links to both books.


You’ll see the Whisperings Shorts are no longer here. I took them down because I intend to add more content and publish them as short stories for $0.99. Tiff Takes on Halloween is already available on Amazon. Note: they are short stories. Not novels, not novellas, not novelettes. Short stories. The Shorts will be exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days from publication.


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Downside Rain is available from Amazon stores worldwide, including: Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon Germany * Amazon Canada * Amazon Australia

Also available from Nook * Apple * Scribd *  Inktera

Baelfleur is available from Amazon stores worldwide, including: Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon Germany * Amazon Canada * Amazon Australia

Also available from Nook * Apple * ScribdInktera

 

 

 

Apocalypse, Trolls and Bounty Hunters

Interviews can be such fun!

Click to continue reading “Apocalypse, Trolls and Bounty Hunters”